McNutt v. [Bazza]
A passerby who allegedly approaches the scene of a motor-vehicle accident and is assaulted may not possess causes of action against the defendant driver for negligence, recklessness and statutory recklessness. In May 2011, the defendant driver, Melanie Bazza, allegedly collided with a motor vehicle driven by the plaintiff, Agnes McNutt. Christopher Gaetano allegedly had been helping load items into McNutt's motor vehicle, prior to the motor-vehicle accident, and crossed the street to talk with friends. When he observed the motor-vehicle accident, Gaetano returned to McNutt's motor vehicle, and Bazza allegedly assaulted him. Gaetano alleged that the assault arose out the motor-vehicle accident and he sued, alleging negligence, common-law recklessness and statutory recklessness. Bazza moved for summary judgment and argued that Gaetano's alleged injuries were not caused by the operation of Bazza's motor vehicle. Gaetano allegedly admitted that any injuries he sustained took place after he witnessed the motor-vehicle accident and approached the scene. Gaetano claimed that absent the motor-vehicle accident, he would have remained unharmed, and that the alleged assault arose out of the motor-vehicle accident. The alleged assault was not of the same nature as the foreseeable risk created by the defendant's alleged negligence when operating her motor vehicle. The court granted Bazza's motion for summary judgment. "[I]t was not reasonably foreseeable," wrote the court, "that the defendant's negligent and/or reckless operation of her motor vehicle would result in an assault on Gaetano."